I was really pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allen as I thought the whole premise sounded intriguing. Joe McKee, Pillar of the Irish Community, is dying. He is being cared for by his step-daughter Heidi and as they realise that he has little time left the rest of his family come to his side including his daughter Ciara and his sister Kathleen. However his death comes quicker than expected, and so when the mourners start arriving, so do the police.
The Liar’s Daughter is a novel about family lies and terrible secrets that I found incredibly compelling. I read it on a recent trip to Manchester and really couldn’t put it down. I really don’t want to give anything away but the big issue was relatively easy to guess from the beginning, however the twists and turns kept the suspense high. The characters in this story are all very different and each have their own motive for wanting Joe dead. This gives the story an almost Agatha Christie feel to it, with a closed cast of characters in the middle of the ‘whodunnit’
The story is told mainly from the viewpoints of Ciara and Heidi, both in the present day and when growing up. We also hear from Joe at the beginning which gives an additional element to the story. This is quite a dark and emotional story and deals with some hard issues, the murder of Joe is almost a secondary story. Therefore using the term enjoyable in a review doesn’t feel quite right, but I would recommend it. The issues are dealt with sensitively and the quality of the writing means that the story flows easily.
The Liar’s Daughter is an excellent read that will stay with you long after you finish it.
Order your copy here.
This had been on my pile to read for a while, and after my latest read, which was a police procedural, I fancied something a bit lighter (Obviously still within the crime realm) so this jumped out at me.
The Ex-Girlfriend introduces us to Georgia. When she is stood up on a date by Brett, she meets Luke instead. He seems a charming bloke with loads in common with her and they soon fall in love. It is just what Georgia needs after the hard time she has been through in her past so the relationship moves quickly. There is one slight problem, he has a maniac of an ex-girlfriend called Cadance who refuses to let him go. When he moves in with Georgia to try and put his ex behind him, things get worse as Cadance steps up her campaign of hatred. Yet are things all what they seem?
I really enjoyed this and found it completely compelling. You know that there is something off about Luke, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it and have to say I didn’t see the twists coming.
The story is told from the viewpoints of mainly Georgia but also the Ex Cadance. It is her viewpoint that really shifts things on their head and gets you doubting what you already know. The writing style is quick and flows well with short chapters which were easy to read and made it really zip along.
The clever bit about this story for me was how plausible it seemed. Yes from the outside you go through thinking ‘how do you not realise that’s odd’. There were parts where I wanted to rip Georgia from the pages of the book and give her a real shake. However then when you think about it from her point of view, you can appreciate how it is easy to hide things in plain sight and how we really do only see what we want to see.
The Ex Girlfriend is quite difficult to review without giving away key plot points but suffice to say it is a good read that I would highly recommend.
Grab your copy here The Ex Girlfriend
I was lucky enough to visit Copenhagen a couple of years ago and love reading novels set in places I’ve been to so I was pleased when I was offered the chance to read the new book by Jesper Stein.
Die for Me is about a rapist who is preying on the women of Copenhagen. DI Axel Steen is leading the investigation. When there are links found between the latest crime and one of Steen’s unsolved cases, the murder of a young girl four years before it soon becomes personal for him. As well as having to face a case that he has never forgiven himself for not solving, the Detective is also dealing with the fact that his new boss is his ex-wife’s girlfriend and that he doesn’t see as much of his daughter as he would like.
This was an interesting story, although I must confess to finding DI Steen a bit annoying. He is a very self centred person who seemingly cares more about where his latest hit is coming from than the case he is on. However on the positive side he is clearly a great detective and that bloody mindedness is put into his work. I actually prefer his boss Jens Jessen as a character. He was much more of a ‘play by the rules’ type of person and he provides a good contrast from Steen’s more maverick approach. This is very heavy on the police procedure which I found interesting and it gave a good structure to the story.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the city, and found it fascinating to read about the contrast between the beautiful areas I saw as a tourist and the rather less salubrious areas where a lot of the action takes place. The writing takes a little bit to get used too I found, which could be down to the translation rather than the writing but once you got into the swing of it the story soon grips you.
I enjoyed this and would recommend this especially if you enjoy a maverick detective.
Don’t forget to visit other stops on the Blog Tour:
At this year’s festival I was lucky enough to meet debut author Robin Morgan-Bentley who was promoting his novel The Wreckage which I have recently read.
The Wreckage begins with Ben, a teacher who is on his way to work as normal. However this day Adam, in a last despairing act, jumps in front of Ben’s car succeeding in killing himself. In the aftermath Ben struggles to come to terms with what has happened, and to try and assuage his guilt he starts to develop a friendship with Alice, Adam’s widow, and her young son Max. However is this what Alice wants, and how will either of them manage to move on?
This was a fabulous book that seemed very accomplished for a debut novelist. I wouldn’t personally class this as a thriller in the traditional sense of a ‘grab you by the seat of your pants and hang on’ type of story, however it was absolutely gripping. From the dramatic start to the story that absolutely hooks you in, things slow down a little as both Alice and Ben come to terms with what has happened. The tension then starts to build back up as the relationship begins to grow and we find out more about the characters.
The story is told from the veiwpoints of both Alice and Ben. This is a really clever trick that means you see the same moment but from a different interpretation which adds to the tension in the novel. I found both characters equally likeable and annoying at times. Whilst clearly you have sympathy for them both having been through a horrific experience. You also want them to take a look at their actions and think of the consequences.
It’s tricky to say too much about the plot without giving away the twists but the story takes a darker turn towards the end and there are things I did not see coming. When I met Robin Morgan-Bentley I got his autograph and he asked me who my favourite author. I definitely enjoyed this novel as much as a Patricia Cornwall one!
You can buy your own copy of The Wreckage at Amazon.
I have read a couple of Katerina Diamond’s novels previously and enjoyed them, so I was very pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest book Woman in the Water.
Woman in the Water begins with the discovery of a woman, alive after being submerged in icy water. She is dragged out by Detective Adrian Miles but refuses to give her name or say what happened to her. When she then disappears from her hospital bed Adrian and his partner Imogen Grey start to investigate. When a second body is found, the Detectives’ investigations lead them to a local couple. The woman is eventually identified and it seems as if she is an abused woman who refuses to implicate her husband in any crime. However as Adrian delves deeper into the case, he soon starts to struggle as memories of his childhood start to surface and a horrific attack causes him to start questioning himself and his relationships.
Woman in the Water was a good read. I really enjoyed Katerina’s writing style. From the discovery of the body (which nearly made me jump out of my seat whilst reading) through the gripping build up of the case surrounding the mystery woman via the relationship between Adrian and Imogen this was a rollercoaster read. It is certainly not for the fainthearted. There were some quite graphic scenes and one particularly brutal episode was hard to read and changed the focus of the book. Covering domestic abuse, corruption, rape, murder this is a dark disturbing read, but is dealt with in a sensitive way and I don’t think these are issues that should be shied away from.
I like the main characters although as I haven’t read all of the previous novels by Katerina Diamond I would probably have had more empathy with Adrian and Imogen had I known their whole backstory. This would probably have helped understand a bit more as to why they acted the way they did, especially in their interactions with each other. However this story does still work as a standalone. It is a gripping read that is hard to put down.
I would recomend this novel, although I would suggest reading the series from beginning. The missing chunks of background intrigued me enough to want to go back and start the whole series from the beginning, which is exactly what I think I might do!
Woman in the Water is available here
I am a huge fan of reading as you know, and I do read a lot (if not as much as I would like) Therefore whilst I read some fantastic books, and the last couple I’ve read have been superb, it’s not often that something really sticks out as unusual. This, however, was exactly the case with The Recovery of Rose Gold, by Stephanie Wrobel.
The Recovery of Rose Gold was one that I was given at last years festival and had been on my shelf for a while. It’s a proof copy so the blurb was sparse:
‘Once upon a time, they said, a wicked Mother gave birth to a Daughter’
The Recovery of Rose Gold is the story of a relationship between a Mother and Daughter. It starts with the release of Patty, the Mother. On the first page we find out she has been convicted of poisoning her daughter for years whilst she was a child. Rose Gold is her daughter and it is her testimony that sent Patty to prison. Now Patty is out and she wants to move back in with Rose Gold to help her care for her new grandson and to put the past behind them.
Well it is no exaggeration to say that this was truly a book that I could not put down once I had started. Luckily it was a weekend so other plans went out of the window. This is a dark, and disturbing tale which completely drew me in. Yet despite the story matter, the writing gives it a light feel that almost has a humerous edge. The story is told from just two viewpoints – Patty and Rose Gold, Patty is the voice of the current day. Rose Gold’s story flits back to fill in the details of her life whilst Patty was in prison.
Throughout the book you have complete sympathy for Rose Gold as she suffered horrendously at the hands of her clearly disturbed mother. The after effects are obviously still being felt as Rose Gold struggles with normal relationships and life. Patty is also interesting as you end up with a degree of sympathy for her too as she also did not have a great upbringing.
This is a story of obsession and love and how the lines between the two are often blurred, in this case with terrible consequences. This is one of the best books I have read for a while and I’m sure will be huge hit next year. If you like unreliable narrators and stories that will keep you gripped from start to finish then I cannot recommend this highly enough. Unfortunately it isn’t available until March 2020 but it is definitely worth the wait!
You can pre-order your copy here
As a blogger I am lucky to have virtually (and in some cases physically) met lots of fantastic bookie people. One of these was Noelle Holten, aka Crime Book Junkie. Therefore last week I was looking to stock up my kindle ahead of week of train journeys and her debut novel ‘Dead Inside’ was the first thing I searched for.
Dead Inside introduces us to DC Maggie Jamieson and her friend Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood. To the outside world Lucy has a great life. She has a good job, a doting husband and 2 happy step-children. Yet behind closed doors Lucy lives in fear of her abusive husband. Maggie has recently moved to a new team, the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit. She is keen to make her mark with her new colleagues and her first case starts with the murder of a known domestic abuser. As more bodies appear it seems there are links to Lucy but are things as they seem?
Dead Inside caught my interest from the start and didn’t let up. The story was intriguing, and it was clear that the knowledge Noelle must have gained from her years in the probation service added a great sense of authenticity to the novel. The story itself is quite brutal and in parts quite hard to read, which to me is exactly how it should be given the subject matter.
The two main characters were a great pairing. I personally found the character of Maggie a little annoying. During the briefing her eagerness to please and jump in with questions was frustrating to read, yet it gave a good insight into her character. Lucy on the other hand I had huge sympathy for, her character was clearly in turmoil. Having to deal with horrendous criminals during the day, and having to deal with her husband at home, the pressure that she was under just poured off the page. There were quite a lot of peripheral characters that were hard to keep track of at times, but that says more about my memory than anything about the writing. Towards the end of the novel, as all the strands start to come together you realise that all the characters have their own part to play in creating the story.
Dead Inside was an incredibly accomplished novel, and I can’t wait to read Noelle’s next one and to find out what is next for Maggie and Lucy.
You can find Dead Inside and the follow up Dead Wrong here.